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01/10/2014
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The Use and Operation of Low-Speed and Other Similar Motorized Vehicles

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Personal Injury

The purpose behind Florida’s Uniform Traffic Control Law, is to provide the individuals who occupy the streets, highways, and other roadways with a set of uniform traffic laws to apply throughout the state. Contained within Florida’s Uniform Traffic Control Law are specific rules for the use and operation of nearly every type of vehicle, including ATVs, golf-carts and other low-speed motorized vehicles.

The following is provided by the ATV & Golf-Cart  Accident Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. as a general overview of the use and operation of low-speed and other similar motorized vehicles.

Golf-Carts

The operation of a golf cart upon a public road or street is generally prohibited. However there are exceptions to this general rule, which allow for the use of a golf-cart under certain circumstances. For example, golf-cart use is typically permitted for the purpose of crossing a street or highway where a single mobile home park is located on both sides. Also, most self-contained retirement communities allow for the operation of golf-carts within the community. In addition, a county or municipality may designate any other road or street that has been determined safe for golf-cart use. Signs will be posted indicating that the use of a golf-cart is permitted on a particular road or street.

In locations where the use of golf-carts is permitted, there are additional rules of operation that apply. The driver of a golf cart MUST:

• Be over the age of 14 if operating a golf-cart on a public road or street;
-AND-
• Operate the golf-cart only during the hours of sunrise and sunset, unless a variance has been provided for by local ordinance;
-AND-
• The golf cart must be equipped with efficient brakes, reliable steering apparatus, safe tires, a rearview mirror, and red reflectorized warning devices in both the front and rear.

ATVs

The operation of an ATV upon a public road or street is generally prohibited. An exception exists for daytime use, on an unpaved roadway with a speed limit under 35 mph. However, a county may elect, by majority vote, to exempt themselves from the Florida statute allowing ATV use on unpaved roads. In the alternative, a county may designate certain unpaved roads where an ATV may be operated.

Where the use of an ATV has not been prohibited upon an unpaved roadway, there are rules regarding which individuals may lawfully operate such vehicles. The driver of an ATV MUST:

  • Be either:
    • a licensed driver; OR
    • a minor under the direct supervision of a licensed driver.

-AND-

  • Must be able to show proof of ownership upon request by a law enforcement officer.

Low-Speed Vehicle or Mini-Truck

A low-speed vehicle or mini truck is permitted on any road, but with the following restrictions:

  • The speed limit is under 35 mph.

-AND-

  • A low-speed vehicle must be equipped with the following:
    • Lamps: Head, Tail, Stop, and Turn-signal
    • Reflex Reflectors
    • Parking Brakes
    • Rearview Mirrors
    • Windshields
    • Seatbelts; and
    • Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN).

-AND-

  • The vehicle is
    • Registered pursuant to Fl. Stat § 320.02; and
    • Insured pursuant to Fl. Stat § 320.02.

-AND-

  • The vehicle is operated by a person in possession of a valid driver’s license.

-AND-

  • The vehicle is operated only in an area not prohibited by local ordinance, or otherwise.
To determine the rules applicable to a specific vehicle type, it is necessary to know the manner in which Florida classifies a particular vehicle. For more information on specific vehicle types, see our post entitled, Florida’s Classification of Low-Speed and other Similar Motorized Vehicles.

Also, because the use and operation of ATVs, Golf-carts, mini-trucks, and other low-speed vehicles is largely dependent on the laws in effect for a particular county or municipality, it is important to know local laws as well. County Code of Ordinances for Alachua and Marion County, or another county in Florida, can be accessed through the official website for each particular county. Likewise, city ordinances can be accessed through the official website of each city, or municipality. A complete listing of local laws for Florida, can also be accessed through www.municode.com.

Although adherence to the law and safety awareness, are certainly crucial to the prevention of accidents involving an ATV, Golf-Cart, or similar low-speed vehicle, the attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. know all too well that accidents will continue to occur. If you or a loved one sustained serious injury as a driver or passenger of a low-speed vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. Protect your legal rights, by letting us put our decades of experience to work for you.

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